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Former Iowa Congressman Wiley Mayne
History Professor Richard Kottman, Iowa State University
Professor Herb Strentz, Drake University

Iowa Press Special (#3050)
August 1, 2003

IOWA PRESS SPECIAL:WATERGATE IN RETROSPECTIVE (#3050)>>

Yepsen: THE POLITICAL SCANDAL OF WATERGATE MARKS ITS THIRTIETH YEAR THIS SUMMER, AND THE REVERBERATIONS CONTINUE. WE DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE AND THE IMPACT OF WATERGATE WITH FORMER IOWA CONGRESSMAN WILEY MAYNE, WITH HISTORY PROFESSOR RICHARD KOTTMAN OF IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, AND WITH DRAKE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR HERB STRENTZ ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS A SPECIAL EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS": "WATERGATE IN RETROSPECTIVE." HERE IS DAVID YEPSEN.

Yepsen: BACK THEN IT WAS DESCRIBED AS A THIRD-RATE BURGLARY AND A FIRST-RATE COVER-UP, AND EVENTUALLY A POLITICAL SCANDAL AND A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS. THEN AND TODAY THE EVENT IS IDENTIFIED BY JUST ONE WORD, "WATERGATE," A BUSINESS AND RESIDENTAL COMPLEX IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WHICH HOUSED THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE. AND TODAY WE KNOW IT AS THE LAUNCHING PAD IN WHAT EVOLVED INTO A JOURNEY INTO THE FIRST-EVER AND ONLY PRESIDENTIAL RESIGNATION IN UNITED STATES HISTORY. SINCE THE EVENTS OF JUNE 1972, WATERGATE HAS BEEN THE FODDER AND FOCUS OF HISTORIANS, POLITICAL SCIENTISTS, JOURNALISTS, MEDIA ANALYSTS, POLITICIANS, POLITICAL PARTIES, AND PSYCHOLOGISTS. THIRTY YEARS AFTER THE FACT, IT'S THE POLITICAL SCANDAL THAT JUST WON'T GO AWAY, AND PERHAPS IT SHOULDN'T. AT THE TOP OF THE HOUR, PBS PRESENTS "WATERGATE PLUS THIRTY: THE SHADOW OF HISTORY," A TWO-HOUR REVIEW DEDICATED TO THE CAUSE AND EFFECT AND, OF COURSE, THE AFTERMATH. BUT RIGHT NOW WE PRESENT AN "IOWA PRESS" SPECIAL: "WATERGATE IN RETROSPECTIVE," AND WE THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. HERE AT OUR TABLE ARE: WILEY MAYNE, A REPUBLICAN FROM SIOUX CITY AND A FORMER CONGRESSMAN WHO WAS A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE THAT VOTED TO IMPEACH RICHARD NIXON; PROFESSOR RICHARD KOTTMAN OF IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, WHO TEACHES U.S. HISTORY TO STUDENTS WHO WEREN'T EVEN BORN AT THE TIME OF WATERGATE; AND PROFESSOR HERB STRENTZ OF DRAKE UNIVERSITY, WHO HAS SERVED AS DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION AND WHO HAS SERVED FOR TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AS THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE IOWA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COUNCIL. GENTLEMEN, WELCOME, ALL OF YOU, TO "IOWA PRESS." WE APPRECIATE YOU TAKING TIME TO BE WITH US. ONE OF THE THINGS IN THE PROGRAM WE'RE ABOUT TO SEE AND REALLY THE NEWS OF THE PROGRAM IS JEB STUART MAGRUDER SAYING HE HEARD RICHARD NIXON ORDER THE BREAK-IN OF LARRY O'BRIEN'S OFFICE. HE HAD NOT SAID THAT BEFORE. CONGRESSMAN MAYNE, WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO WHAT JEB MAGRUDER IS NOW SAYING?

Mayne: WELL, I THINK THAT MAGRUDER CERTAINLY SHOULD HAVE STOOD UP AND MADE THAT REVELATION BACK IN '72. TO SIT ON IT THIS LONG AND NOW BE IN THE LIMELIGHT IS PERHAPS WHAT HE WANTED TO ACHIEVE, AND HE'S DONE THAT. BUT THE WHOLE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS WOULD HAVE MOVED MUCH MORE SMOOTHLY AND RAPIDLY IF HE HAD DIVULGED THAT HE HAD OVERHEARD THAT CONVERSATION AND SHARED THAT INFORMATION WITH THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE AND, AS A MATTER OF FACT, WITH THE SENATE COMMITTEE THAT HAD ALREADY BEEN WORKING ON IT.

Yepsen: PROFESSOR KOTTMAN, SAME QUESTION. WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO MAGRUDER'S STATEMENT?

Kottman: HISTORIANS ALWAYS HAVE THE PROBLEM OF EVIDENCE, AND JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING DOESN'T NECESSARILY MAKE IT CORRECT OR ACCURATE. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE MAN IS A MAN OF THE CLOTH. MAYBE HE'S GETTING READY TO DIE AND HE WANTS TO MAKE EVERYTHING -- AND MAKE SURE THAT HE CONFESSES ALL OF HIS SINS AND ALL OF THAT. IT IS RATHER STRANGE BECAUSE HE HAS APPEARED ON OTHER DOCUMENTARIES, AND HE CERTAINLY WAS NOT LOATH TO SHARE SOME VERY PERSONAL -- SOME VERY PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE. SO I GUESS I WOULD TAKE THE POSITION THAT STANLEY KUTLER DID, WHO IS SORT OF THE AUTHORITY ON THE WATERGATE AFFAIR, AND THAT IS THERE ARE NO TAPES OF THIS. AND YET, THE ULTIMATE EVIDENCE WOULD BE A TAPE CORROBORATING WHAT HE SAID, THAT HE HAD CALLED HALDEMAN AND ALL THAT.

Yepsen: HERB STRENTZ, WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO THIS? DO YOU THINK WE'LL FIND A TAKE SOMEDAY WITH --

Strentz: OH, I DOUBT IT. MAGRUDER'S COMMENTS ARE NOT INCONSISTENT WITH WHAT HAPPENED. AND YET, WHY DID HE WAIT THIRTY YEARS? MAYBE NO ONE SPECIFICALLY ASKED HIM THE QUESTION. AND I THINK WE LOSE SIGHT OF, ON THE OTHER HAND, WHAT THE BIG STORY IS. THE BIG STORY IS WATERGATE AND THE PRESIDENT'S RESIGNATION. AND MAGRUDER IS JUST ONE OF THOSE OTHER THINGS THAT'S GOING TO POP UP FROM TIME TO TIME TO KIND OF TITILLATE AND AMUSE US. AND I THINK SOME OF THE OTHER ISSUES THAT WE'LL DISCUSS IN THE NEXT FIFTEEN, TWENTY MINUTES ARE OF MORE SUBSTANCE. I'M CONTENT, I GUESS, JUST TO LOOK AT THIS THING AND SAY, OKAY, MAGRUDER SAYS THIS NOW AND WE CAN BELIEVE IT OR NOT. IT DOESN'T CHANGE MUCH IN THE COURSE. I THINK AS WILEY MENTIONED, A LOT OF TIME MIGHT HAVE BEEN SAVED HAD HE SPOKEN UP EARLIER.

Kottman: OF COURSE, PEOPLE WHO -- PEOPLE WHO CONTINUE TO APOLOGIZE FOR NIXON WILL NOT BE DISSUADED FROM THEIR POSITION BY THIS REVELATION, EVEN IF WE'RE PROBABLY PROVED TO BE ACCURATE. AND I AGREE WITH YOU; I DON'T THINK THERE WILL BE A TAPE. I DON'T THINK THAT WILL EVER BE ESTABLISHED.

Yepsen: LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WATERGATE, SOME OF THESE BIG ISSUES THAT HERB STRENTZ MENTIONED. I WANT TO START WITH YOU, CONGRESSMAN MAYNE. AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION, YOU WERE A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. YOU VOTED AGAINST IMPEACHING RICHARD NIXON. AND ABOUT A WEEK -- A FEW DAYS LATER, THEN, HE ADMITTED COVERING THINGS UP. YOU SAID YOU WOULD HAVE VOTED, HAD YOU KNOWN THAT, TO IMPEACH THE MAN. I GUESS, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO GO THROUGH THOSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARINGS, AND WHAT WAS IT LIKE IN THOSE DAYS IN THE CONGRESS?

Mayne: WELL, OF COURSE, I CAME TO THE CONGRESS WITH A BACKGROUND OF HAVING BEEN A LAWYER, BOUND BY THE ETHICS OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION. AND WE HAD A STRONG BIAS AGAINST TRYING OUR CASES IN THE PRESS. A LAWYER WAS SUPPOSED TO WAIT AND PRESENT HIS EVIDENCE AT THE TRIAL IN A COURT OF LAW, AND THAT KIND OF LIMITED THE MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE WHO HAD HAD THAT PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND. THE REPORTERS, THE MEMBERS OF THE JOURNALISM PROFESSION, HAD DIFFERENT RULES AND STANDARDS. AND THEIR OBJECTIVE WAS TO GET THE FACTS AND GET THEM AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, AND THIS CREATED A RATHER ROCKY RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MEDIA. I KNOW THAT IN OUR COMMITTEE, BEFORE WE WENT PUBLIC WITH OUR HEARINGS, THE REPORTERS WOULD ACCOST US AS SOON AS WE CAME OUT OF THE CLOSED HEARING AND WOULD FOLLOW US AROUND, BOMBARDING US WITH QUESTIONS, EVEN FOLLOWING US INTO THE BATHROOM. SO THERE WAS A RATHER CONTENTIOUS RELATIONSHIP, WHICH REDOUNDED TO OUR DISADVANTAGE.

Yepsen: YOU, AS A RESULT OF YOUR VOTE IN PART, IN THE 1974 ELECTIONS, WERE DEFEATED. BERKELEY BEDELL DEFEATED YOU IN A VERY CLOSE ELECTION. DO YOU FEEL BETRAYED BY RICHARD NIXON?

Mayne: NO, I DON'T FEEL BETRAYED BY HIM. HE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT OF GREAT THINGS, AND I STOOD WITH HIM BECAUSE I DID NOT THINK THAT AT THE TIME THE COMMITTEE VOTED THAT THERE WAS SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO JUSTIFY THIS VERY, VERY EXTREME REMEDY, WHICH HAD BEEN ATTEMPTED ONLY ONCE. BACK WITH PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON AFTER THE CIVIL WAR, THE HOUSE HAD INDEED IMPEACHED THAT PRESIDENT JOHNSON, BUT HE WAS ACQUITTED BY THE SENATE. AND BEING SOMEWHAT OF A STUDENT OF AMERICAN HISTORY -- I MAJORED IN THAT IN COLLEGE -- I FELT THAT IT TOOK A VERY, VERY STRONG BODY OF EVIDENCE TO JUSTIFY THE DRASTIC REMEDY TO IMPEACH HIM. BUT AT THE TIME OUR COMMITTEE VOTED, I DID NOT THINK THAT IT WAS THERE. OF COURSE, JUST A FEW DAYS LATER ON AUGUST 5, THE PRESIDENT RELEASED THOSE TRANSCRIPTS OF CONVERSATIONS HE HAD HAD JUST SIX DAYS AFTER THE BREAK-IN, IN WHICH IT WAS CLEAR THAT HE WAS INSTRUCTING THE FBI TO DISCONTINUE ITS INVESTIGATION AND WAS LAUNCHING A PLAN FOR A COVER-UP. AND THEN I AND ALL OTHER MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE WHO HAD VOTED AGAINST IMPEACHMENT ANNOUNCED THAT WHEN IT REACHED THE FLOOR, WE WOULD TAKE THE OPPOSITE POSITION AND VOTE TO IMPEACH.

Yepsen: PROFESSOR KOTTMAN, I WANT TO BROADEN OUR DISCUSSION A LITTLE BIT. I WANT TO GET YOUR IMPRESSION. WHAT WAS THE IMPACT ON SOCIETY? WHAT HAS BEEN THE IMPACT ON SOCIETY OF THIS WHOLE EPISODE CALLED WATERGATE?

Kottman: MAY I ASK A QUESTION OF --

Yepsen: FEEL FREE, SURE.

Kottman: -- THE FORMER CONGRESSMAN, PLEASE? ONE OF THE VOIDS IN THE -- IN THE CASSETTE, WHICH WILL FOLLOW THIS DISCUSSION, IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, LEON JAWORSKI, AND YOUR COMMITTEE. APPARENTLY JAWORSKI DID SEND OVER TO YOUR COMMITTEE A GOOD NUMBER OF THOSE TAPES THAT HE HAD ACQUIRED. AND THESE APPARENTLY WERE PLAYED BEFORE THE COMMITTEE; IS THAT CORRECT?

Mayne: SOME. SOME WERE PLAYED, YES. WE DIDN'T GET THEM ALL.

Kottman: NO, THIS WAS NOT BROUGHT OUT IN THE CASSETTE, IN THE DOCUMENTARY. I WAS JUST CURIOUS IF YOU DO REMEMBER THIS AND IF YOU ATTACH MUCH SIGNIFICANCE TO THE TAPES THAT YOU DID HEAR, BECAUSE THERE WERE A COUPLE THERE THAT WERE PRETTY DAMNING.

Mayne: WELL, THE DOCUMENTARY DEALS ONLY WITH THE PROCEEDINGS IN THE SENATE --

Kottman: RIGHT, I SAY THIS --

Mayne: THEY DIDN'T COVER ANY OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS.

Kottman: NOW I'LL GET BACK TO YOU.

Yepsen: DEAL WITH THE QUESTION THAT I ASKED, AND THAT IS THE IMPACT ON SOCIETY. AS WE LOOK BACK OVER THE LAST THIRTY YEARS, WHAT'S BEEN THE EFFECT? WHAT'S THE IMPACT?

Kottman: IN THE CASSETTE, WHICH WILL FOLLOW THIS DISCUSSION, SEVERAL PEOPLE WILL ANSWER THE WAY I WOULD, NAMELY THAT OVER THE LONG HAUL, I DON'T THINK WATERGATE HAS HAD THAT MUCH IMPACT, NOT THE KIND OF IMPACT THAT IT PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE. YES, THERE WAS A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS. NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. AND, YES, THERE WERE SOME REFORMS PASSED BY CONGRESS FOLLOWING THE -- FOLLOWING THE RESIGNATION. ON THE FACE, THESE REFORMS LOOK PRETTY GOOD AND YOU HAVE -- YOU HAVE A PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ACT, FOR EXAMPLE, PASSED IN 1978, WHICH, AS YOU'RE AWARE OF THE FACT, THAT BUSH RECENTLY DID HIS BEST TO OBVIATE ANY KIND OF -- ANY KIND OF ACCESS TO HIS FATHER'S VICE PRESIDENTIAL -- I THINK THAT YOU HAVE -- WITHIN TEN YEARS YOU HAVE ANOTHER CRISIS. YOU HAVE TODAY, IN 2003, YOU HAVE SOME OF THE SAME -- SOME OF THE SAME PROBLEMS THAT YOU HAD BACK THEN. YOU STILL HAVE, ESSENTIALLY, AN IMPERIAL PRESIDENT.

Yepsen: PROFESSOR STRENTZ, NO IMPACT? NO EFFECT?

Strentz: OH, I THINK ONE OF THE IMPACTS IS THE AWARENESS THAT DEMOCRACY AND PROTECTION OF OUR FREEDOMS IS AN ONGOING BATTLE. YOU DON'T HAVE ONE GREAT ARMAGEDDON AND THEN EVERYTHING IS RESOLVED. IN TERMS OF JOURNALISM, I THINK THE LESSONS ARE MIXED. ONE OF THE DISTURBING ELEMENTS OF WATERGATE MAY HAVE BEEN THE RELIANCE MORE ON PUBLIC -- ON ANONYMOUS SOURCES INSTEAD OF THE PUBLIC RECORD, GIVING MORE CREDENCE TO WHISPERS THAN TO PUBLIC STATEMENTS, THE SUSPICION THAT YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE THE STORY UNLESS YOU USE AN ANONYMOUS SOURCE. ONE OF THE ISSUES -- ONE OF MY ODDBALL TAKES ON WATERGATE IS MAYBE IT WASN'T A JOURNALISTIC TRIUMPH AS MUCH AS A DEGREE OF MEDIA MANIPULATION, THAT PERHAPS THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAD BEEN STONEWALLED, THE INVESTIGATION HAD COME TO A FLAT END, AND DEEP THROAT, WHOEVER IT WAS, FIGURED HE HAD TO GO, AS WILEY MENTIONED, TO THE JOURNALISTS TO USE SOME EXTRA LEGAL PRESSURES TO BLOW THE THING OUT OF THE WATER.

Yepsen: BUT, PROFESSOR, DIDN'T IT MAKE US A LOT MORE CYNICAL? I MEAN PEOPLE IN AMERICA TODAY --

Strentz: YEAH. I THINK THAT THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT JOURNALISTS SOMETIMES ADDRESS, THAT WE THINK THAT WE'LL LAY IT ALL OUT AND PEOPLE BECOME OUTRAGED AND TAKE ACTION TO REMEDY THE SITUATION. AND, UNFORTUNATELY, WHAT SOMETIMES HAPPENS IS WHEN THE JOURNALISTS LAY IT ALL OUT, PEOPLE SAY, OH, MY GOD.

Yepsen: PROFESSOR KOTTMAN?

Kottman: WELL, THE ELECTION TO WHICH YOU'VE REFERRED EARLIER, IN WHICH -- IN 1974 IN WHICH OUR CONGRESSMAN HERE WAS DEFEATED, ACTUALLY THE VOTER TURNOUT THAT YEAR WAS VERY, VERY LOW. THIS WAS A DEMOCRATIC SWEEP ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THE DEMOCRATS PICKED UP, LIKE, 45 SEATS IN THE HOUSE, WHICH IS THE SECOND HIGHEST TURNOVER IN DEMOCRATIC PARTY HISTORY. BUT THE POINT REMAINS THAT FROM THIS POINT ON, VOTER ALIENATION, VOTER DISENCHANTMENT, ALL OF THESE THINGS BECOME A FACT OF LIFE IN THE 1970S DOWN INTO THE '80S. AND YOU HAVE A CONTINUING LOWER AND LOWER AND LOWER VOTER TURNOUT WHETHER YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS OR WHETHER YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT -- WHETHER YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. AFTER ALL, IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY, THE VOTER TURNOUT IN THIS COUNTRY WAS CLOSE TO 80 PERCENT. NOW, YOU CAN CONCEDE, I SUPPOSE, THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE VOTED TWO AND THREE AND FOUR TIMES IN THE DAYS BEFORE REAL CONTROL. BUT THAT'S STILL A FAR CRY FROM -- WE'RE LUCKY IF WE, IN A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, YOU GET MUCH MORE THAN 52, 53 PERCENT. AND I THINK WATERGATE HAS A LOT TO DO WITH IT, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE OTHER FACTORS. I, AS A HISTORIAN, WILL NOT BE MANISTIC IN MY EXPLANATION. I THINK IN THE CASE OF OUR -- OF OUR GUEST HERE THAT THE ECONOMY ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO THE DEFEAT OF THOSE REPUBLICANS. AFTER ALL, THIS IS -- IT'S NOT JUST WATERGATE.

Strentz: WELL, SOME OF THE OTHER MORE POSITIVE SPIN-OFFS -- IN 1974 CONGRESS PASSED, OVER PRESIDENT FORD'S VETO, AMENDMENTS TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, STRENGTHENING THAT ACT IN MANY WAYS. HOW LONG THOSE CHANGES LASTED, WHETHER IT'S STILL EFFECTIVE IS OPEN TO DEBATE, BUT WATERGATE REMAINS A GOOD ARGUMENT FOR THE NEED FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT AT ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT. ONE OTHER POINT NEEDS TO BE MADE IN TERMS OF THE JOURNALISTIC ASPECT OF WATERGATE, AN ADDITIONAL POINT. AND THAT IS THE ROLE OF KAY GRAHAM AS PUBLISHER OF "THE WASHINGTON POST" AND THE SUPPORT THAT THE PAPER GAVE TO THE TWO YOUNG, RELATIVELY INEXPERIENCED REPORTERS WHO WERE, AT THAT TIME, THE ONLY ONES CHASING THE STORY, AND THE PRESSURES THAT KAY GRAHAM WAS UNDER WITHIN THE BELTWAY AND DIDN'T KNUCKLE TO. SO ANY RECOGNITION OF WATERGATE HAS TO LIST HER AS ONE OF THE SHAPERS OF EVENTS.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN MAYNE, WHAT -- I GUESS, WHAT LESSONS HAVE WE LEARNED HERE? WHAT DO WE DO TO PREVENT THIS AGAIN -- FROM HAPPENING AGAIN IN OUR SOCIETY?

Mayne: WELL, I HAVE A HAPPIER TAKE ON THE EFFECT OF WATERGATE. I DO BELIEVE THAT IT'S BEEN ESTABLISHED AND IS RECOGNIZED ALWAYS NOW THAT NO MAN IS ABOVE THE LAW, WHETHER IT'S THE PRESIDENT OR THE HUMBLEST WORKER. YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE AND HAVE TO PLAY BY THE RULES OF THE GAME AND UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION. SO I THINK IT'S HAD A BENEFICIAL, LASTING EFFECT, FOR WHICH WE SHOULD ALL BE THANKFUL AND WHICH WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO SUPPORT. I DON'T TAKE A PESSIMISTIC VIEW OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC. I THINK THEY'RE AWARE AND HOLD THEIR PUBLIC SERVANTS ACCOUNTABLE TO THIS HIGH STANDARD.

Yepsen: ONE EFFECT THAT I HAVE SEEN THAT I THINK EXISTS OF WATERGATE IN 1974 WAS THE RISE OF THE MODERN-DAY DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN IOWA. IT WAS YOUR DEFEAT. CONGRESSMAN SHIRLEY WAS DEFEATED THAT YEAR BY TOM HARKIN, WHO LATER WENT ON TO THE U.S. SENATE. DO YOU AGREE -- CAN WE CHART THE GROWTH OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN IOWA FROM WATERGATE? DIDN'T THAT REALLY GIVE THEM A HUGE BOOST?

Mayne: YES, IT GAVE THEM A RUNNING START, WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MAINTAIN, IN LARGE PART. I KNOW THAT THE MEDIA -- WE DID -- WE DID HAVE A ROCKY RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MEDIA, THOSE OF US ON THE COMMITTEE WHO WERE VOTING AGAINST IMPEACHMENT, AND THAT CERTAINLY WAS AN ELEMENT IN MY DEFEAT IN THE FALL.

Yepsen: I THINK ROCKY RELATIONSHIPS ARE PART OF THE GAME, AREN'T THEY? I MEAN AREN'T WE SUPPOSED TO HAVE ROCKY RELATIONSHIPS WITH POLITICIANS?

Mayne: I COULD HAVE DONE A MUCH SMOOTHER JOB IN MY RELATIONS WITH THE MEDIA. THERE WERE A NUMBER OF INSTANCES I CAN RECALL NOW WHERE IF I HAD JUST BEEN MORE FORTHCOMING WITH THE MEDIA, THEY WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN AS HOSTILE IN INTERPRETING MY POSITIONS. I DID -- I DID TAKE SOME PRETTY TOUGH LICKS IN THE PRESS DURING MY LOSING CAMPAIGN IN 1974, WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF WE'D HAD A MORE CORDIAL RELATIONSHIP.

Yepsen: PROFESSOR KOTTMAN, I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE EFFECTS OR IMPACT QUESTION. I MEAN ONE OTHER THING IN IOWA THAT IT DID WAS IT SPAWNED JIMMY CARTER'S CANDIDACY FOR THE PRESIDENCY IN 1975. HE WON IN '76, WENT ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE, AND THAT SINGLE EVENT PUT THE CAUCUSES ON THE MAP. SO I MEAN RIGHT THERE, DON'T WE HAVE A GOOD EXAMPLE OF HOW WATERGATE HAS AFFECTED US HERE IN IOWA?

Kottman: OH, I DON'T -- I DON'T MEAN TO SUGGEST AND I HOPE NOBODY CONSTRUED IT THAT WATERGATE IN MY OPINION IS THAT OF ARTHUR BURNS, THAT IT'S LIKE A FOOTNOTE IN HISTORY. I'M JUST SAYING I THINK ITS IMPACT HAS BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED. I DON'T PURPORT TO BE AN AUTHORITY ON IOWA POLITICS, BUT IT SEEMED TO ME THAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY GOT A MAJOR BOOST WITH HUGHES IN '62. AND I REMEMBER WHEN, CERTAINLY AFTER THE ELECTION OF '64, THAT EXCEPT FOR GROSS, EVERY CONGRESSMAN IN THE HOUSE -- EVERY IOWA CONGRESSMAN WAS A DEMOCRAT EXCEPT FOR GROSS. NOW, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY SOMETHING HERE FROM A HISTORICAL STANDPOINT, THAT WATERGATE AND NIXON BECOME SYNONYMOUS. AND THE POINT THAT I WOULD MAKE, IF I WERE TO DELIVER A SERMON HERE, IT WOULD BE THAT -- THAT NIXON IS MORE THAN WATERGATE. GOING BACK TO WHAT YOU SAID -- I HATE TO SAY THIS. IT DOES SORT OF BOTHER ME BECAUSE I HAD MY FIRST OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE IN A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 1956 WHEN EISENHOWER AND NIXON RAN FOR THEIR SECOND TERM AND I CAME FROM A REPUBLICAN FAMILY AND YET I VOTED FOR STEVENSON BECAUSE, EVEN NOMINALLY REPUBLICAN, I COULDN'T BUY INTO NIXON AND HIS POSITIONS. SO I DON'T WANT WHAT I'M ABOUT TO SAY, I DON'T WANT YOU TO THINK THAT HERE I'M A --

Yepsen: OKAY. YOUR POINT IS?

Kottman: MY POINT IS THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF BENEFICIAL LEGACIES, A LOT OF POSITIVE LEGACIES FROM A NIXON PRESIDENCY, AND THIS IS WHAT -- THIS IS WHAT I THINK PEOPLE OUGHT TO RECOGNIZE, THAT THERE'S MORE TO THE NIXON PRESIDENCY THAN JUST WATERGATE. AT THE SAME TIME, I GUESS I WOULD PUT MYSELF IN THE CATEGORY, THEN, OF BEING A NIXON REVISIONIST.

Yepsen: ALL RIGHT. WELL, LET'S -- PROFESSOR STRENTZ, LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT. WHAT REDEEMING QUALITIES ARE THERE TO THE NIXON PRESIDENCY? ARE THERE ANY?

Strentz: YEAH, WELL, I HAVE ONE. AND IT'S GOING TO SOUND FACETIOUS, BUT IT'S NOT INTENDED TO. ONE OF THE REDEEMING ASPECTS WAS THAT HE RESIGNED. I THINK THAT THIS ECHOES WHAT I ALMOST SHOUTED OUT AMEN TO WHEN CONGRESSMEN MAYNE MENTIONED IT: NO MAN IS ABOVE THE LAW. WE GO BACK 800 YEARS TO MAGNA CARTA, AND WE GO BACK AS RECENTLY AS PRESIDENT CLINTON BEING TOLD HE HAS TO ADDRESS A CIVIL SUIT WHILE PRESIDENT BECAUSE NO MAN IS ABOVE THE LAW. BUT PRESIDENT NIXON RESIGNED. HE AVOIDED, I THINK, WHAT PEOPLE WERE IN TERROR OF IN THE BELTWAY AT THAT TIME: WHAT HAPPENS IF HE DOES NOT FOLLOW THE SUPREME COURT'S RULING ON DISCLOSURE OF THE TAPES. SO I THINK THAT CERTAINLY IS ONE ASPECT OF SALVAGING THE NATURE OF THE PRESIDENCY, THE NATURE OF MAGNA CARTA. THESE PRINCIPLES -- AND THEN OTHER PEOPLE WILL CERTAINLY ADD TO THAT LIST THE MORE IMPORTANT ASPECTS: OPENING THE DOOR TO CHINA, THE DOMESTIC RELATIONS. AND I'LL DEFER TO THE OTHERS ON THAT.

Kottman: IT'S ALSO A MANIFESTATION OF THE COMPLEXITY OF THE MAN. YES, BECAUSE IN THEORY, I SUPPOSE AS ONE OF THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE TABLE WILL POINT OUT, I SUPPOSE HE COULD HAVE TURNED TO THE ARMY. I MEAN HE COULDN'T -- HE WOULD NOT HAVE --

Yepsen: WELL, THERE WAS THAT FEAR.

Kottman: WELL, APPARENTLY IN CERTAIN QUARTERS. THAT'S RIGHT. SO THIS IS, AGAIN, ONE OF THE POSITIVE DIMENSIONS OF NIXON, AND THERE ARE OTHERS.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN MAYNE, WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE POSITIVE PART, LIKE PROFESSOR KOTTMAN SAYS, THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NIXON'S PRESIDENCY? WE DO THINK OF THIS -- AS WATERGATE THAT, THAT WAS ALL THAT NIXON DID. BUT ARE THERE ANY OTHER REDEEMING QUALITIES TO HIS PRESIDENCY THAT WE SEE NOW?

Mayne: WELL, I THINK HIS GREAT CONTRIBUTIONS IN THE FIELD OF FOREIGN RELATIONS SHOULDN'T BE OVERLOOKED. AFTER ALL, THE OPENING TO CHINA, OUR INCREASED POSITION RELATIVE TO THE SOVIET UNION, THESE WERE THINGS THAT IT TOOK A MASTER OF FOREIGN POLICY TO ACHIEVE. AND HE DID ACHIEVE GREAT SUCCESSES IN THAT FIELD. NOW, HE HAD GOOD THINGS IN THE FIELD OF DOMESTIC AFFAIRS ALSO, BUT I AM PARTICULARLY IMPRESSED BY HIS GREAT RECORD AS A FOREIGN STATESMAN.

Strentz: IT'S KIND OF THE NOTION THAT THERE WERE THINGS THAT HE ACCOMPLISHED THAT A DEMOCRAT COULD NOT HAVE.

Kottman: YEAH, EXACTLY. THIS IS ONE OF --

Mayne: WELL, THAT'S RIGHT. AND BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN STRONGLY AGAINST COMMUNISM AND AGAINST THE SOVIET UNION, HE WAS ABLE TO DEAL WITH THE SOVIET LEADERS AS NO DEMOCRAT COULD.

Kottman: OF COURSE, THE PRICE WAS SECRECY. THE WAY HE AND KISSINGER FUNCTIONED WAS BACK CHANNEL. THE SECRETARY OF THE STATE, THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WERE NOT KEPT ADVISED AS TO WHAT POLICY COMING OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE WAS. THIS IDEA OF SECRECY, THIS IDEA OF NOT TRUSTING ANYBODY, THIS KIND OF -- YOU HAVE KIND OF A PREEMPTION HERE. THIS IS GOING TO REVERBERATE AND IT'S GOING TO COME TO HAUNT HIM IN THE DOMESTIC --

Mayne: MEMBERS OF THE CABINET ARE CREATURES OF THE PRESIDENT. AFTER ALL, HE APPOINTED THEM AND THEY HAVE TO ANSWER TO HIM. SO I SHOULDN'T BE SO WORRIED ABOUT HIS NOT SHARING EVERY TIDBIT --

Kottman: WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT TIDBITS. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT BOMBING OF CAMBODIA, FOR EXAMPLE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ESCALATION OF THE WAR IN VIETNAM. THESE WEREN'T LITTLE TIDBIT INFORMATION THAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. THE POINT IS THAT OBVIOUSLY HE WANTED TO CONCENTRATE POWER IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND CERTAINLY IN THE AREA OF HIS EXPERTISE. AND MAY I SAY THAT NIXON IS ONE PRESIDENT WHO ACTUALLY HAD THOUGHT SYSTEMATICALLY ABOUT POLICY. MOST PRESIDENTS ARE NOT VERY, VERY INTROSPECTIVE AND VERY, VERY THOUGHTFUL. I MEAN HOOVER WOULD BE ONE, CERTAINLY, AND NIXON WOULD BE ONE.

Yepsen: PROFESSOR STRENTZ, IS THERE ANYTHING MORE TO UNCOVER IN WATERGATE? I MEAN JUST WHEN WE THINK THIS STORY IS DONE, ALONG COMES JEB MAGRUDER AND SAYS, "I HEARD -- I MEAN ARE WE GOING TO BE LIVING WITH THIS FOR THE REST OF LIVES?

Strentz: OH, YEAH, I'M SURE WE WILL BE. BUT I THINK THE SIGNIFICANT THINGS ARE OUT THERE, THE MATTERS OF PHILOSOPHY, POLITICAL AND OTHERWISE, ARE OUT THERE. I THINK THE REST IS JUST WINDOW DRESSING UNLESS SPIRO AGNEW TURNS OUT TO BE DEEP THROAT OR SOMETHING THAT ALARMING. THERE ARE THESE LESSONS THAT HAVE TO BE REMEMBERED. ONE OF THE HAUNTING ASPECTS OF THE ISSUE IS THE PRINCIPLE THAT THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS. YOU HEAR THAT TIME AND TIME AGAIN IN THE COURSE OF THE DISCUSSION THAT, WELL, A GREATER GOOD WAS BEING SERVED. A NATION WAS BEING SAVED, EVEN IF IT MEANT THAT WE HAD TO FIREBOMB THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION OR PLAN THAT. AND THAT IS DISQUIETING AND YET IT IS A THEME THAT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS ALL THE TIME. DEMOCRACY BEGINS WITH EACH OF US, AND THAT'S AN UNENDING STORY. WATERGATE, THE LESSONS ARE THERE FOR THOSE OF US WHO WANT TO LEARN TO APPLY THEM.

Yepsen: AND PROFESSOR STRENTZ, YOU GET THE LAST WORD BECAUSE WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU, ALL, FOR BEING WITH US. IT WAS A GOOD DISCUSSION. THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. THIS EVENING'S PROGRAM IS OUR FINAL EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS" FOR THE 2002 AND 2003 BROADCAST SEASON. AFTER A FIVE-WEEK SUMMER HIATUS, WE RETURN FOR THE NEW SEASON, OUR 32ND, ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5. WE'LL HAVE A NEW AIRTIME ON FRIDAYS. WE'LL BE WITH YOU AT 7:30 P.M. FOLLOWING "WASHINGTON WEEK" WITH GWEN IFEL, JUST IN CASE YOU NEED TO RESET YOUR VCR. AND ON SUNDAYS WE HAVE OUR REGULAR REBROADCAST AT NOON. THAT'S STARTING WITH OUR NEW SEASON ON SEPTEMBER 5, FRIDAYS AT 7:30 AND SUNDAYS AT NOON. I HOPE YOU'LL BE JOINING US. UNTIL THEN, I'M DAVID YEPSEN OF "THE DES MOINES REGISTER." THANKS FOR JOINING US HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

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